Review of “The Steam Man of the Prairies”


“The Steam Man of the Prairies” eBook was published in 2016 (original paper edition was published in 1868) and was written by Edward S. Ellis ( He authored more than 100 “Dime Novels”.

I received a galley of this novel for review through I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in the frontier lands west of the Mississippi in the 1870s time frame. The primary character is Johnny Brainerd, a young inventor.

Brainerd builds a steam powered ‘man’ and is enticed by an acquaintance to accompany him west from St. Louis to seek out gold. They travel into the western territories constantly battling Indians along the way. Their goal is to meet up with colleagues already mining gold, finish the dig and then head back to civilization. The four encounter one challenge after another as they avoid death from the marauding Indians.

This was an interesting 2.5 hour read of 112 pages. You can definitely tell it was written nearly 150 years ago. It reminds me of the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs or the early Tom Swift books. It was a little hard to read due to the wording of the time. It had a good pace, always finding one problem after another to be overcome. The cover art is well chosen. I give this novella a 4 out of 5.

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